There Is a Rule That Could Disqualify a Royal From Becoming King or Queen

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Prince William, Kate Middleton
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As far as the British royal family is concerned, we know there's an order to things -- after Queen Elizabeth steps down, Prince Charles is up next, and then it will be Prince William's turn. But just being born into the family doesn't guarantee someone the throne. Apparently, there's a rule that could disqualify an heir from becoming king or queen.

  • The one rule that could keep someone from inheriting the throne? It all has to do with religion. 

    Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip
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    As PureWow pointed out, whoever becomes King or Queen of England in the future must be Protestant Anglican, and they absolutely cannot be baptized in the Catholic church. Should that happen, they'd immediately be disqualified from ever reigning. 

    Presumably, this would mean that whoever's next in succession would take their place. 

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  • The rule that the King or Queen cannot be Catholic is outlined on the royal family's website.

    Queen Elizabeth
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    "Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the Sovereign must meet," noted the website. "A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne." 

    But that's not where the rule involving religion ends ...

  • Not only can an heir not be Catholic, but the heir also has to be a part of the Church of England. 

    Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Prince Charles
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    "The Sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland," the website said. "The Sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession." 

    This means that whoever becomes king or queen cannot change this rule ... so they'd probably have to get parliament on board to make that happen if they wanted to do that.

  • However, the family has loosened rules around religion a bit in recent years. 

    Prince William, Kate Middleton
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    The website also detailed The Succession to the Crown Act, which went into action in March 2015. Not only did it change the rule that younger brothers would surpass their older sisters in line for the throne, but it also made it possible for a king or queen to marry someone who is Catholic and still rule.

    "The Act also ended the provisions by which those who marry Roman Catholics are disqualified from the line of succession," the site noted.

  • Who knows? Maybe one day the rule will change -- maybe not.

    But for now, it's pretty much a requirement to be king or queen, and fortunately, everyone who's been born into the royal family falls into that category automatically, which is good for Prince William

    So wait, does this mean to avoid the throne, all someone would have to do is convert? That's pretty interesting ... but so far, it doesn't seem like it's happened yet!